Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Barney Miller uses Hamlet

“Ramon.” By Theodore J. Flicker and Danny Arnold. Perf. Hal Linden, Barbara Barrie, and Abe Vigoda. Dir. Bill Davius. Barney Miller. Season 1, episode 1. ABC. 23 January 1975. DVD. SHOUT! FACTORY, 2011.

“Bus Stop.” By Theodore J. Flicker and Danny Arnold. Perf. Hal Linden, Barbara Barrie, and Abe Vigoda. Dir. Noam Pitlik. Barney Miller. Season 3, episode 4. ABC. 14 October 1976. DVD. SHOUT! FACTORY, 2011.

“Werewolf.” By Tony Sheehan and Reinhold Weege. Perf. Hal Linden, Barbara Barrie, and Abe Vigoda. Dir. Noam Pitlik. Barney Miller. Season 3, episode 6. ABC. 28 October 1976. DVD. SHOUT! FACTORY, 2011.

ShakespeareGeek recently challenged us all to watch all the sitcoms we ever watched in all our ever-loving lives and to categorize the Shakespeare references in them.

Well, sort of.

He did say that he had noticed a lot of Shakespeare references in sitcoms that he was watching (or having on in the background) during the COVID-19 crisis. And I had just found one myself in an episode of Taxi (for which, q.v.).

It probably shouldn't have been surprising that I found some Hamlet references in Barney Miller, starting with the very first episode.

There were more in the third season. I've put them all together in the clip below. We start with Barney Miller's wife alluding to something rotten in the state of Denmark. Then we move to a person who was on the verge of committing insurance fraud until conscience made a coward of him. Finally, we meet a man who thinks he's a werewolf, and we get a "more things in heaven and earth" quote.

Enjoy . . . and feel free to find your own and to mention them in the comments!

Links: The Show at IMDB.

Friday, June 12, 2020

The "Prayer-Book" scene in Loncraine's Richard III

Richard III. Dir. Richard Loncraine. Perf. Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey, Jr., and Maggie Smith. 1995. DVD. United Artists Pictures, 1995.

In the third act of Richard III, Shakespeare pulls back the curtain to show us the political power of the photo opportunity. Buckingham has been trying to rally support for Richard as king, but it hasn't been going that well. He advises Richard to be found with a prayer book in his hand, conferring with two priests. That will make him appear to be Christian, holy, and only concerned with spiritual matters, not with power.

It's all show. Richard has no religious feeling whatsoever, but he thinks he can fool everyone into thinking he does, which will be good for his political career.

The images to the right show the way Loncraine decided to show this scene. It's a brilliant, nicely-layered way to show how a photo opportunity like this has no real substance. Not only is Richard only portraying an interest in religion that he does not actually feel, it isn't even a religious book that he's using as a prop! I haven't been able to make out just what the dust cover on the book says, but it looks like it's a secular novel. Once the dust cover is removed, it looks like a prayer book . . . but its interior is secular, not sacred.

Here's what Buckingham says when he's advising Richard in this photo opportunity:
The mayor is here at hand: intend some fear;
Be not you spoke with, but by mighty suit:
And look you get a prayer-book in your hand,
And stand betwixt two churchmen, good my lord;
For on that ground I'll build a holy descant:
And be not easily won to our request . . . . (III.viii)
More of the scene follows in the clip below. I love how Sir Ian delivers the final line of this clip: "I'm not made of stone."

I'm posting this on Friday, June 12, 2020. On Monday, June 8, 2020, the President of the United States walked across Lafayette Square to hold a Bible up in front of St. John's Church. Protests over the death of George Floyd were happening all over the country . . . including in Lafayette Square . . . at the time.

Careful readers know that I am interested in talking about how Shakespeare is relevant. They will also know that there are times when I wish that Shakespeare was not relevant. 

Links: The Film at IMDB.
Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest